Anyone who has ever spent time in Spain in the build up to a Real Madrid – Barcelona derby will know just how pervasive the coverage of this match is. It dominates the sports pages for the entire week before the match, the radio talk shows talk of nothing else and even television programmes that have no connection to sport whatsoever will spend time debating tactics. As a result it is very difficult to find a decent news story that involves neither of the two clubs and very easy to forget that the other teams are even playing. So, in case you were wondering, here's a look at the weekend's other fixtures.
Valencia have a chance to go joint top of the league if they can overcome Osasuna at the Mestalla. David Villa is in fine form and Quique Sanchez Flores side will be feeling confident following a Champions league vestry in midweek. It will not be an easy game, but Valencia’s 100% record this season should remain intact.
Baraja, Vicente, Marchena and Del Horno Hill miss the match on Sunday suffering from varying degrees of injury, but Edu, who limped off on Wednesday, should be fit. This is welcome news for Valencia as the Brazilian has been a key player for them in midfield in the absence of Marchena.
Osasuna will be hoping to bounce back from defeat to Racing last week, but their midweek performance in the goal-less draw with Heerenveen on Thursday means that they continue to struggle for goals. Valencia is not the place to visit when you are in need of a goal or two and Ziganda can only go on blaming bad luck for so long.
Atletico Madrid, level on points with Valencia, face the more difficult prospect of a visit to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday. Aguirre’s side have not lost away from home yet this season but that record could be broken by the Galicians who have yet to drop a point at the Riazor. The focus will be on how Atletico respond to the long term absences of Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Petrov and the loss of the two influential wingers is sure to force a change in system upon Aguirre.
Sevilla also have a golden opportunity to close the gap at the top pending any slip ups by the leaders when they host second to bottom side Gimnàstic Tarragona. Juande Ramos' team have lost two of their last three league games, but they remain a very good side and could consider themselves unfortunate at Barcelona last week. Nastic, on the other hand, look out of their depth and will be feeling the pressure after losing to fellow strugglers Athletic Bilbao last weekend.
Another side desperate for a win is Real Betis who have found themselves in the bottom three. Their trip to Zaragoza, however, is a difficult one and they face a side who seem to find scoring goals very easy at the moment.
Real Sociedad travel to Real Mallorca in search of their first win of the season whilst Athletic Bilbao will be under pressure, at home to Celta Vigo, in spite of last weekend's first win of the season over Gimnàstic.
Villarreal play Levante on Saturday, while Espanyol meet Racing Santander and Recreativo Huelva host Getafe in Sunday's other matches.